Today,Manu Chao released ‘Bloody Bloody Border,’ a deceptively jolly tune with a hint of cowboy twang about the appalling conditions of migrant camps in Arizona, written after Manu visited the state on tour in 2011. The track is the second of three new songs added to Clandestino / Bloody Border, the special re-release of his acclaimed album, coming August 30 via Because Music, and available in limited CD and triple vinyl editions.
In ‘Bloody Bloody Border,’ Manu sings: We want freedom to cross / cross the border line / freedom is not crime / let’s peaceful river flow / let the people come and go.
Released in 1998, at the cross-fade of the millennium, Clandestino sounded perfect – a radical masterpiece, a celebration and defense of the displaced and immigrants, which mixed a European and South American perspective and ushered in an era of more globalized pop music.
Two decades later, the album is being re-released, with three added tracks, including the recently released re-working of the title song with veteran Trinidadian feminist pioneer and recording artist Calypso Rose. The song, as with the album overall, has, sadly, even more relevance and urgency than when it was first recorded. Rose adds new lyrics about being stranded at sea: the land in front don’t want me / the land behind me burns.
‘Roadies Rules’ is from the Clandestino sessions, reworked by the original sonic co-pilots Manu and Renaud Letang. It is an autobiographical blues track about feeling suicidal on the road somewhere, in the middle of nowhere: No reason to wake up for another day. Woozy, hungover Mexican brass adds to the sense of disorientation and despair.
Manu Chao remains one the most elusive stars, who can be seen busking in a local bar or playing a squat as often as any high profile gig. There have been no album releases since ‘La Radiolina’ in 2007. Despite flying under the radar, there have been hundreds of gigs around the world; as well as scores of songs written, with a few released, including ‘Seeds of Freedom,’ ‘Words of Truth’ and the home-made tracks from Ti.po.ta, a duo consisting of him and Greek singer-actress Klelia Renesi. As the line had it on ‘Desaparecido,’ one of the most important, autobiographical songs on Clandestino: “the disappearing one … hurry[ing] down the lost highway … When they look for me I’m not there, When they find me, I’m elsewhere.”
Clandestino / Bloody Border Track List
Clandestino Desaparecido Bongo Bong Je Ne T’aime Plus Mentira… Lagrimas De Oro Mama Call Luna Y Sol Por El Suelo Welcome To Tijuana Dia Luna… Dia Pena Malegria La Vie A 2 Minha Galera La Despedida El Viento Clandestino (feat. Calypso Rose)* Bloody Bloody Border* Roadies Rules*